Brave Star Collective

The Brave Star Collective is a volunteer mentoring program that matches bright, creative teenage girls from University City High School and West Philadelphia High School with writers affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania. Through weekly one-on-one mentoring sessions, monthly genre-based workshops held at Kelly Writers House, special readings and field trips, the program provides a safe and supportive environment where girls can expand their natural writing talents, develop independent creative voices, and build confidence in making healthy choices in school, career, and life.

For girls and their mentors becoming part of the Brave Star Collective (BSC) means becoming part of an intimate writing community. The pairs meet once a week during the school year, and keep meeting for up to three years. All mentors and mentees gather once a month for rigorous, spirited, genre-based workshops at the Kelly Writers House on Penn's campus. Each semester we provide one reading and one group field trip to a free/inexpensive literary event, as well as a college seminar for seniors. Mentees contribute original writing to an annual publication and develop a diverse portfolio by the end of the year.

We follow a model that allows for creative enrichment for both mentors and mentees alike:

One-on-one Mentoring Sessions

At the start of the BSC year, each mentee, or Star is assigned to a writer affiliated with Penn, a Peer, who will be her mentor. Each pair meets weekly in person at places they agree will spark creativity and support writing, such as free literary readings, plays, films, museums, coffee shops or informal writing/editing sessions at the Writers House.

Group Writing Workshops

BSC organizes group workshops led by a different pair of Peers each time. Each workshop delves into a specific genre or theme not routinely covered in the classroom. Mentors draw on particular fields of expertise to lead workshops on fiction, poetry, playwriting, screenwriting, memoir, journalism, and more. Everyone participates in a series of writing exercises, working solo, one-on-one, and in small groups, and in full group discussions and critiques. Workshops are held one Saturday per month from 12 to 4pm. Lunch will be served.

Eclipse: A Peer Writing Circle

Eclipse is an optional writing/teacher support group that meets for two hours monthly to provide Peers with a chance to become more inspired and fulfilled as writers and, as such, more engaged as role models for their mentees. This group will also provide a new way to socialize, and explore new or different genres in a nurturing environment. Finally the group will provide a forum for high-level peer critique. Also open to BSC alumni.

Special Programs

At the end of each semester all participants will be given the opportunity to share their work at a Saturday reading in the Arts Cafe at Kelly Writers House. This will be an opportunity for families, friends, and teachers to see what the girls have been up to. The spring reading will also celebrate our graduating seniors and the publication of our annual publication. We also host a college seminar in the fall for the senior Stars.